Do You Leave Tile Spacer In?

  • By: Sam
  • Date: February 4, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Do You Leave Tile Spacer In

Do you leave tile spacers in or take them out after the adhesive sets when you tile?

Some people leave them in because they think it will help keep the tiles spaced evenly. Others take them out because they think it’s easier to grout if there are no tile spacers.

So, do you leave tile spacers in? The truth is, it doesn’t matter whether or not you leave the tile spacers in when you set your tiles. The only people who care whether or not you do are old-school tile professionals and they probably aren’t going to be inspecting your work very closely unless there’s a problem with it.

Is There Any Disadvantage Of Leaving The Tile Spacers In?

There is no such major disadvantage of leaving tile spacers in, the only disadvantage to leaving the tile spacers in is it can be harder to grout the tiles if there are no gaps between them.

If you’re using a color of grout that’s lighter than the tiles, the grout might show up in the spaces between the tiles. You can avoid this by using a darker color of grout or by taking out the spacers after the adhesive sets.

(Quick tip: You can add a huge value to your tiling project by reading more about tile spacers, the size of tile spacers you need for your project as well as the selection of tile size and thickness.)

How Long Should Tile Spacers Be Kept In?

Tile spacers should be kept in for about 24 hours after the adhesive sets. This will give the adhesive enough time to set and hold the tiles in place. If you take out the spacers before this, the tiles might move around and could end up being crooked.

If you want to make spacing the tiles easier, you can take out some or all of the tile spacers after 24 hours. This way, there will still be enough space between the tiles to make grout lines but you won’t have as much trouble keeping everything level and straight.

Leaving some of the spacers in when you set your tiles will help keep everything in place while the adhesive cures.

Leaving Tile Spacers in- Floor Tiles vs Wall Tiles

Is there any difference in leaving tile spacers in between floor tiles and wall tiles? So the answer is No! There is no difference in leaving tile spacer, both wall & floor tiles spacers are kept in.

The only thing that differs is the time you leave them in, for wall tiles it’s 24 hours and for floor tiles, it’s 48 hrs.

Take Out Tile Spacers

Tile spacers are easy to take out. Just grab them from either end and pull them out. If they’re sticking up a little bit, give them a quick tug and they should pop right out.

Depending on which method works best for your project, you can take out some or all of your tile spacers.

Leaving The Tile Spacers In

Grouting is a little easier if you leave the tile spacers in. This way there is enough space between the tiles to let grout lines form as they normally would. If you take out the spacers, you might have trouble keeping your tiles level and straight.

Tile spacers are only used when you’re setting tiles on walls or floors, they aren’t necessary when laying tiles on a countertop. If you need to leave them in for as long as 24 hours, use some kind of weight as soon as possible to hold tiles in place.

How can you remove them if you decide later that you don’t want them there

If you have leftover tile spacers and you decide later that you don’t want them there, you can remove them by using a utility knife. Just score the spacer where it meets the tile and then snap it off. You can also use a hammer and chisel to break the spacer off. Just be careful not to damage the tiles in the process.

Another way to take the spacers out with tiles that have already been set is to try using a flat head screwdriver. Insert it between the spacer and the tile and gently twist until it pops off.

Sometimes you may need to trim away any excess adhesive that is on the spacer.

Here is a very useful video that explains the step-by-step procedure of removing tile spacers.

So, What’s the right thing to do?

The right thing to do is to use common sense and only take out the tile spacers if you need to. If it makes life easier, don’t be afraid of taking out some or all of the spacers after 24 hours. Just remember, you should only take out spacers when the adhesive has set and is no longer tacky to touch.

Tile spacers should be left in for 24 hours when you set your tiles. Remember, tile spacers are only used when setting tiles on walls or floors and they aren’t necessary when setting tiles on countertops. Tile spacers help give the adhesive time to set without sticking the tiles together.

Do the size of tile spacers matter while leaving them in?

Well, all tile spacers are different in length. Depending on the project requirement, they are generally available in 10mm/15mm/20mm/25mm or above 15mm to 20 mm depending on the project requirement. The size of the tiles used for the floor determines what sizes you need to use while leaving them.

Tile spacers should be about 1/8 inch shorter than the thickness of your grout line. As long as they’re smaller than that, you should be okay leaving them in.

Pros and Cons Of Leaving Tile Spacers In

Pros:

  • Grouting is a little easier if you leave the tile spacers in. This way there is enough space between the tiles to let grout lines form as they normally would.
  • If you take out the spacers, you might have trouble keeping your tiles level and straight.

Cons:

  • Tile spacers are only used when you’re setting tiles on walls or floors, they aren’t necessary when laying tiles on a countertop.
  • If you need to leave them in for as long as 24 hours, use some kind of weight as soon as possible to hold tiles in place.

Conclusion

So, leaving your tile spacer in or not will not make a huge difference. But, removing them after adhesive sets gives an advantage of easy grouting because you can work with gaps that are big enough for grout to fill them & cover every tile surface properly.

If you leave them inside, when grouting there are chances that the grout may come out between tiles because of the excess gap created by spacers, so it’s better to take them out after the adhesive sets completely & your wall/floor will be ready to go!

(Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to check out our guide on how far down to tile behind stove if you plan to undertake a kitchen tiling project!)

Happy tiling!!

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